For the last couple of years I have been working on Prakīrṇakas most of which are on the subject of Samādhimaraṇa or ‘Voluntary Peaceful Death’. It was my desire to investigate more and deeper into this subject, which was, is and will remain of paramount importance to the followers of Jainism – ascetics as well as the lay.
When I broached this subject with Prof. Prem Suman Jain, his response was very encouraging and he motivated me enough to undertake this project covering the issue of voluntary deaths not only in the Jaina tradition but the Buddhist tradition as well. He not only suggested a suitable modification to the topic proposed by me to include the study of Pali literature but also very generously agreed to be my supervisor and guide for this research work. This work, therefore, owes its existence to his encouragement, motivation and guidance. I owe it to him and consider it my most sacred duty to express my deepest respect, regards and reverence to him – my teacher, guru, supervisor and guide.
Their Holinesses Acharya Ramlalji Maharaj, Acharya Bharatsagarji Maharaj, Upadhyāya Maniprabhasagarji Maharaj and Muni Anekantasagarji and Sadhvis Shri Pushpavatiji, Dr. Vidyutprabhashriji and Aryika Suparshvamati Mataji’s holy blessings have stood by me all through and I bow to them all in all the devotion and veneration at my command.
Prof. Sagarmal Jain and Dr. Jitendra Bhai Shah also gave me very useful suggestions and I must express my gratitude to them.
Dr. Udai Chand Jain and Dr. Hukam Chand Jain of the Jainology and Prakrit Department were very helpful all through the conduct of this investigation and I thank them for their generous help.
Dr. Suresh Sisodia of Agam Shodh Samsthana and Shri Parshvakumarji Mehta of Ambaguru Shodh Samsthana have been very cooperative whenever I needed any help from their libraries and I must acknowledge their generosity.
I also owe my gratitude to all the institutions and people from whom I have received immense help and cooperation from time to time. I must particularly mention the names of Acharya Bharatsagarji Maharaj, Muni Anekantsagarji, Gaṇini Aryika Suparshvamati Mataji, Sadhviji Shri Sumanprabhaji, Brahmacharini Dr. Pramilaji, Dr. “Mrs.” Meenu Jain, Shri L.S. Karnavat, Shri C.S. Talesara, Shri G.L. Kavadia, Shri Kiran Nagori and Smt. Kamaladevi Pitlia who have taken the pains to answer the questionnaire and gave me valuable information about the practitioners of Samādhi–maraṇa in their gacchas and families respectively, the information that formed the basis of ten case–studies undertaken by me.
I must also thank the authors and publishers of all the books, newspapers and magazines that I have consulted for my research and I wish to particularly thank Late Acharya Devendramuni “Jainācāra : Siddhānata Aur Svarūpa”, Prof Sagarmal Jain “author : Arddhamāgadhī Sāhitya Mein Samādhimaraṇa Kī Avadahāraṇā” Dr. Rajjankumar “author of Samādhimaraṇa”, Dr. Suresh Sisodia “Editor : Samādhimaraṇa Kī Avadahāraṇā and Prakīrṇaka Sāhitya : Manan Aur Mīmāṁsā”, Justice T.K. Tukol “Sallekhanā Is Not Suicide” and Dr. Purandar Chaugule “Philosophical Study Of Sallekhanā”.
My thanks are also due to those innumerable friends and well–wishers that have supported me by their good wishes.
Lastly, I must also not forget the support extended by my wife Smt. Kanta Baya and the other members of my family without which it would have been impossible to venture this effort.
Dated 1st March, 2004. – Dalpat Singh Baya
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